Day 39 – The reason my garden is turning brown…

Water your garden and it will grow.

Water your garden and it will grow.

Zencast 39 – Loving Kindness

No wonder my house often falls down around me. I’ve missed out one of the cornerstones. I haven’t done Metta Bhavana before!

I’ve been working so hard on my mindfulness practice that I’ve ignored one of the most important practices in Buddhism – Loving Kindness Meditation.

—–

I’m not feeling loving at the moment.

I’m not even feeling kind.

But – I have the intention deep inside of me to be loving and to be kind. I just can seem to practice them at this moment and I’ve no doubt that’s because I’ve been ignoring loving kindness meditation practice until today.

It’s not that I have meant to ignore or forget this important practice. It’s as if I simply didn’t think about the fact that in order for our inner loving kindness towards ourselves and others to grow we have to water it like the seed that grows into a beautiful flower.

So far my seed has been withering in the ground. However, I do believe it is still there and that it’s still willing to take the nourishment I’m willing to give it. This is the most important thing.

When I think about it I find it unbelievable that I thought if I just practiced mindfulness, and tried to cultivate compassion, that loving kindness would naturally follow. Rather naive of me, especially when my compassion can often be very hard to find.

—–

Because the podcast today was simply a discussion about loving kindness I felt I needed to do more and so went ahead to Zencast 107 – Guided Metta Meditation. I decided that I needed to start watering my loving kindness right away.

I was pretty restless throughout this 30 minute meditation, but Gil noted that it is more important to be comfortable in metta meditation and that we should change positions if need be. I needed to change positions A LOT having done Karmic Kundalini Yoga last night in a Yoga Today video podcast with instructor Sarah Kline. Man, are my legs killing me! Thanks Sarah ;)

Having Gil talk me through the meditation meant I could focus more on experiencing the words rather than wonder what comes next. I’m put off by meditations that have written explanations online because I either have to do the meditation with my eyes open so I can read the next part, or I have to memorize parts as I go along. I guess that’s where a Sangha would provide the support needed to learn these meditations. This is probably why I haven’t practiced before, having had no one to guide me.

—–

Having done the meditation I already feel the benefits. I feel more peaceful and open to love and kindness even though I am involved in a couple of conflicts with family members and co-workers at the moment.

When I practice mindfulness I find that I become a lot more accepting of the present moment and patient with life. Therefore, this practice of doing metta meditation is an important step on my journey. Getting it done everyday may be a challenge seeing that I have just mastered the art of doing mindfulness meditation for at least 10 minutes everyday. However, I believe that getting up 10 mins earlier in the morning to practice metta meditation will be worthwhile. I need to start seeing more of a progression in the impasse I seem to have developed with these ‘difficult’ people. Again, this is all an experiment so it remains to be seen what will occur with this ‘new found’ meditation practice.

At least I can rely on the fact that everything changes, therefore I cannot stay in gridlock with these people forever. Until that time I can practice more loving kindness towards myself and hope that the change I can create in myself will in turn create the change needed in my relationships.

As Mahatma Gandhi says – Be the change you want to see in the world.

—–

Perspective for the day was pass forward by Jen who writes at My Smiling Heart. She received this video in A Peaceful Path newsletter she received from Karen Mead. It blew my mind and brought a tear to my eye… Enjoy!

Namaste

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Comments
2 Responses to “Day 39 – The reason my garden is turning brown…”
  1. SteveA says:

    Hi!

    What good news to find a way to unwind some complications of life with something so positive, spiritual and transformative!

    I assure you that you do have the seed of loving kindness within you. I feel you have it somewhere very close to you — perhaps you are simply in denial of it — but even if you had blasted it out of your life in the most extreme ways, you still have it within you. We all do as a condition of being alive. There is a layer of consciousness that manifests you, the Buddha consciousness (or the ninth consciousness) — and there, if nowhere else, the seed of loving kindness lives within you.

    Thanks for the good pointer to a Metta practice zencast — I will bring this to my friend’s attention today and we may do this tonight. I really like the sounding out of AUM at the beginning!

    I was introduced to Metta meditation at my Sangha, and while it felt good, I didn’t persist in it as much as I did the discipline of sitting. My most dramatic experience with Metta has been in combination with forgiveness work. Someone close to me was counseling me to work on forgiving people who had wronged me. On my own I decided in addition to the work suggested (prayer) I would use Metta. This very quickly started healing of negative emotions in me — the ones the furthest in time healed the quickest, while the most fresh feelings took longer. Both eventually changed from resentment and hurt to wishing well and love. I may not ever get a resolution with either of these people I had wished for previously, but now I’ve let go of that desire. I am more free to be present for whatever happens without a cloud of the past distorting what is.

    Now, having experienced this, I practice Metta meditation daily, in conjunction with prayer. It helps me have compassion for myself, to have compassion for others, and it makes it easier for me to drop any resentment or detach from any petty feelings. For me, it’s a clearing — a kind of spiritual smudging — driving out the demons of worry or anger and replacing them with beaming good will.

    Namaste!
    Steve

    • Thanks for the support Steve as always! I also love that AUM at the beginning although for some reason when I started it I ended up laughing and couldn’t stop. Interesting that you were able to heal the negative emotions the farthest from you. I guess in some ways time helps the emotions to not be so close to the surface that it’s easier to move on from them compared to fresher emotions. I’ll have to work with this and see if something similar happens!
      I can fully understand what you mean about the spiritual smudging having just done it once. Also, I guess part of the process of working with loving kindness and the emotions we have over difficult people is ot know that while you can cultivate loving kindness towards them this doesn’t mean that a resolution of your problems can be made. Acceptance is the key here as long as you’ve tried your hardest to love them as best you can in this present moment.
      Hope you’re having a great week :D
      Ange

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